QA Gardenista!

So I’ve been very busy for the last one year; and more busy since two weeks ago with the soft opening of QA Gardenista!

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Come here take a look: https://www.facebook.com/qagardenista

Since the weather in Da Nang is normally warm; our place does not plan to serve cakes or cookies, as some friends ask. But instead, we serve daily fresh drinks every day! (We are thinking of adding the fruit plate as well). The tropical country offers us several exotic fresh fruits like papaya, avocado, mango, durian, lime, fresh ginger, pineapple… and it would be so great to make the most of them to give our customers the best drinks. Plus, we have strawberries from Da Lat, apple, carrot… to make every kind of drink. (One of my favs is carrot, apple and cucumber juice, or taro smoothies with roasted almond slices).

We make apple cinnamon filling to serve with crepe, fresh strawberry jam. (I learned it when we traveled in Saint Petersburg). Having muesli with yogurt and fresh fruit, we use the Swiss muesli, soften with milk for fruit juice. For cereal with mik, we serve the honey type, with oats, and almond; my fav when I was living in the States. To make up for the sweet stuff, we serve toaster with peanut butter and jam; or just butter and jam. Back in 2007, I had to bring back English Breakfast tea from Holland to Da Nang. Now, it’s possible to buy it here. The breakfast can just be perfect with toasters served with butter, orange marmalade and a cup of English Breakfast. Or, You can always indulge yourself with a spread of peanut butter and jam on a toast!

I hope if you are in Da Nang, you can come and visit our place. For now, it’s a place to relax and to recreate. For the near future, I wish to serve fresh salads in the summer and warm healthy soup when it gets chill. But that, I have to wait till the people here get used to having beans in soup maybe. :)

Merry X’mas!

It’s been a year since I have posted something on my food blog. It has surprised me when I come here once in a while and see there are even more visits and people following my blog. Yet, I have plan to start rewriting it soon, at least a post for the French crepe (with apple filling similar to the style I had in Saint Petersburg) so my mother can refer to when I’m away; and a recipe for the Dutch kruidnoten so I don’t have to check it every time I make it. :)

For now, I just want to show some of the little efforts Ngoc (a closed friend of mine) and I have made to prepare for Santa Claus coming. :-)

reindeer X'mas cookies

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Bánh quýt – Mandarin (cardamom) cake

Viết nốt cái này để giữ lại chứ ko cuối tuần sau về VN lại lu bu chả biết bao giờ viết. :D

Vốn là mình cứ nghe đứa bạn mình ở VN bảo bánh quýt ngon nhưng lúc tìm công thức bánh quýt tiếng Việt trên mạng thì chỉ ra cái bánh hình quả quýt, cắm đinh hương phía trên trông giống như cuống quýt chứ chẳng như bánh quýt mình nghĩ. Thế là đành search công thức tiếng Anh lung tung và tự chế thêm nữa để làm cái bánh quýt này. Bánh này mình hấp quýt cách thuỷ nửa tiếng, rồi sau đó dùng máy xay của Braun xay một phút là ra quýt mịn cùng với vỏ quýt thơm và hơi đăng đắng. Nếu ai ko thích vỏ quýt thì có thể bỏ vỏ ra, nhưng mình nghĩ là làm với cả vỏ thì ngon hơn, mà thật ra ko phải kiểu đắng quá. Bánh này mình còn cho thêm bột cardamom (tiếng Việt là bạch đậu khấu) vào và thấy rất hợp với vị quýt. Nếu ở VN không có mình có thể thay bằng bột gừng, và một ít bột đinh hương hay nutmeg (nhục đậu khấu) cũng được.

mandarin cardamom cakeMy sweet breakfast in the weekend :-)

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a long time

It’s been quite a while since I haven’t posted anything here. Firstly, I have had another thing which I aim to do, it really has more priority. I do hope after get that and have things settled, I will have more time for myself and time for the blog. Secondly, I had been cooking a lot during Xmas and NY. Too much that my boyfriend and friends had to comment when I could stop cooking. I successfully had time to do a lot of things during Xmas: bun bo Hue, bun cha ca Danang (which I hope to write a post soon), pho (beef noodle soup). I made roasted lamb and happily completed my first Buche de Noel. There was a day when we baked three cakes. I still have some cantuccini left to deep with marsala (since I can’t find Vin Santo in the Netherlands).

Coming back from China, I have to admit I’m very happy. The breakfast and lunch we had there was very good. There was fresh soy milk in the hotel every morning. I ate congee and had grilled sweet potato very often. Fruits were plenty, especially watermelon. However, dinner became too much. There was too much meat, and particularly when everything was stir-fried, everything was mushy with the use of tapioca starch. The last day, when we were at the best Peking duck restaurant in Beijing, I had to jump to the vegetarian table after seeing two plates of meat. A bowl of salad brought true happiness. I wanted to come back to Vietnam, what we eat there is a lot more with fresh vegetables and a lot less oily. It was so closed but still so far away. In the end, I was okay to come back to the Netherlands, eating bread for lunch, unlike the time when I came back to Holland from Italy, it felt like the meat and ham here are not real meat and ham. Everything that are Italian or Vietnamese are good. I was sick yesterday, thus I cooked congee with pangasius filet, flavored by Vietnamese mint. It was real joy to eat what I cooked.
Pho

A bowl of pho (beef noodle soup). Don’t use coriander or mint for this dish. The herbs to accompany are Thai basil and sawtooth coriander (or at least one out of the two). Using coriander is not the right way.

Buche de Noel (Yule log cake)

My first try with a roll, a Buche de Noel. The Xmas tree had matcha flavor.

Happy new year!